Rule of Law Requires Dialogue

We need peaceful mediation and a negotiated political solution between the government of Spain and the people of Catalunya. The Prime Minister of Spain Mariano Rajoy is pursuing an incredibly dangerous strategy of intimidation and repression and is putting the integrity of his country at risk. His government ordered a coordinated use of paramilitary violence…

Honor through Nonviolent Deliberation

Yesterday, the people of Catalunya did something remarkable; they faced a violent crackdown against peaceful deliberation with the honor of nonviolence. Their example is a gift to the world. The earliest Catalan constitution—les Usatges de Barcelona—was established nearly 1,000 years ago. In those times, their monarch—the Count of Barcelona—was elected. On September 11, 1714, their…

Reject Hate, Every Time

The gift. It is an area of inquiry in deconstructionist postmodern philosophy, that connects to all the human aspirations we might classify as altruistic. The true gift asks nothing in return, not even recognition. At the heart of the act of giving, there lies a paradox: one must have the intention to give in order…

Barcelona som tots

There is a place in Barcelona, next to the Basilica Santa María del Mar, where an eternal flame arches over a unique, concave public square, in honor of all who have sacrificed to defend the ancient laws of Catalunya. It is a place to reflect on what makes people behave selflessly in service of others….

Stand with Charlottesville

Heather Heyer lost her life and liberty standing up for yours and mine. She gave her life in service of the simple, universal value that no form of violence, tyranny, or injustice, can be allowed to stand unchallenged. She knew she was facing danger; she told friends the threat worried her. She made a choice…

Diplomacy is Capability

Diplomacy is often referred to as “soft power”. That framing is more a measure of diplomatic prowess than a result of the simple fact of having diplomats. Bad diplomacy may, in fact, reduce the amount of overall influence a nation has. Soft power is not a given; it is a complex, high-stakes endeavor, and necessary…

Science is a National Security Imperative

Sound science and the free flow of facts are a national security imperative. Without genuine investigation, a willingness to discover evidence, and ways to ensure that reliable, useful, accurate information is moving freely, everyone is less able to know which choices will have which ramifications, and so everyone is less able to make informed choices…

Climate, Peace & Security Knowledge Graph

The Peace Synapse graph: Thinking through climate, peace and security connections in the real world This stunning image is actually a map of knowledge connections, between people, institutions, climate change impacts, and related response scenarios. It is a global knowledge graph (GKG) of climate, peace and security connections, running from January 2009 through 2016. Because…

Playing with Dragons

Why we choose the burden of outdated power structures The modern age opened with the advent of modern science and a deliberative effort to demonstrate truth with examination of evidence. Modern democratic processes emerged from this break with feudal history. Today, we are living in post-modern times—the period after modern breakthroughs became the general foundation…

Global Minnesota Talk: Climate Geopolitics

A Talk on Climate Geopolitics, hosted by Global Minnesota, based on the Great Decisions Program of the Foreign Policy Association Presented: August 10, 2016 — 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Beyond Feudalism: Shared Sovereignty, Human Dignity & Open Information

There is a tension between the feudal system and modernity, which is most usefully illustrated by the differences in how feudalism and democracy treat knowledge. In the feudal system, where powerful landlords control access to resources and consume the political space, general scientific, historical, and technical knowledge is jealously guarded and is shared with working…

Freedom from Tyranny: Redefined

A New Blueprint for Human Liberty We want a future characterized by freedom from tyranny and deprivation. We want a future characterized by open access to education and empowerment. These wants are also needs, if we are to build a human civilization capable of the flexibility and resilience required to outlast the risks that flow…